10 Unhealthy Eye Makeup Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

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10 Unhealthy Eye Makeup Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

10 Unhealthy Eye Makeup Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)


Even if I’m rushing to get out the door in the morning, I never leave without quickly swiping on some mascara—and I’m not alone. According to a poll on Reality Checker Central, 52% of our readers favor makeup products that play up their eyes, while 35% said they never leave home without mascara.

If applied incorrectly, though, eye makeup can cause allergic reactions, infections or even injuries to the surface of the eye. We spoke with Dr. Mirwat Sami, a Houston-based Board Certified Oculoplastic Surgeon, who gave us some advice on how to best apply eye makeup without jeopardizing your health.

1. Keep eyeliner pencils sharp. When the points are sharpened properly, the rough wood casing won’t accidentally scratch your eyelid.

2. Replace all eye makeup every three months. Creamy and liquid eye makeup products are a breeding ground for infection-causing bacteria (yuck!), but you should toss eyeliner pencils every few months, too. You’ll know it’s old when the liner tip becomes stiff and you need to apply extra pressure to use it.

3. Never share eye makeup. When testing products in beauty stores, use only fresh applicators and request a sample that hasn’t been contaminated by multiple users (or to err on the safe side, don’t use eye makeup samples at all). If you ever develop an eye infection, quickly toss all products in your makeup bag, which could be carrying germs.

4. Always apply makeup outside the lash line to avoid blocking oil glands on the upper or lower eyelid. These glands secrete oil that protects the surface of your eye.

5. Never use your saliva to thin clumped mascara or to wet a mascara wand. Saliva contains bacteria from your mouth and could cause an infection.

6. Never use sharp items to separate clumps in your mascara. Instead, dab a Q-tip in makeup remover and gently brush eyelashes to thin out any clumps.

7. Avoid metallic, glitter or powder makeup if you have dry eyes. Basically, skip any products with flakes, which can get into your eye’s tear film and increase irritation.

8. If you use an eyelash curler, choose one with rubber that’s soft — not stiff and cracking.

9. Have sensitive eyes or allergies? Introduce only one new eye makeup product at a time. If you’re able to use it without developing a reaction, it’s OK to add another new product to your routine.

10. You’ve heard it before, but removing all eye makeup at night is so important. Mascara in particular can stick to lashes and cause breakage. Brush a cotton swab along the base of your eyelashes and eyelids to remove all makeup remnants before going to sleep.